Apple has silently updated its top-of-the-line 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Pro models with faster Intel processors. For some perspective, the maxed-out model now packs an 8-core i9 chip clocked at 2.4GHz, that’s capable of chalking Turbo Boost speeds up to 5.0 GHz – making it the fastest MacBook ever. We’ve never had any doubts about the Mac (Pro) notebook’s performance, and even its battery life to an extent, but the new MacBook Pro raises more questions than it answers. Two questions pop up almost instantaneously – does the new MacBook Pro have a better keyboard, and can it take so much power that Apple has crammed into it, without breaking a sweat?
The MacBook has had a troubled record over both these aspects. Apple has even publicly acknowledged (and even apologized for) them.
Both these aspects – keyboard and thermals – are key to any laptop, even more so for a premium laptop. While throttling can (still) seemingly be controlled through a software update, failing keyboards are a more complex issue. It’s a nuisance that’s there by design – a big question mark on Apple’s engineering genius that has long been raved for its high-quality standards. Remember, this is the same company that recently canceled an announced product that did not meet them. One wonders, how its controversial butterfly keyboard ever made it to a commercial product – and it continues to be part of its MacBook lineup to this day.
Surely, Apple has been tweaking its design to find a fix. Its last update added a rubber membrane to individual keys to keep dust and debris from getting inside – but clearly it wasn’t enough. For social media is abuzz with users complaining about failing keys (on a laptop that costs close to around 1 lakh and over) - and Apple itself, continuing its tryst to find that ‘perfect’ solution. In its fourth such refresh, Apple is now using “new materials” inside the mechanism that are said to “significantly reduce the occurrence of double and missed key presses.”
There’s no clarity on what these new materials are and how they’ll suddenly make the new MacBook Pro keyboard less susceptible to failing, but one thing’s clear – Apple is still not letting go of the butterflies. Whether or not the new fix is effective (enough) is something only time will tell, but in the meantime, Apple can’t stress enough that it has your back should things go awry. Apple is expanding its Keyboard Service Program to include all MacBook models with the butterfly keyboard – which basically means all modern-day Mac notebooks. And it, will speed up keyboard repair times.
As for throttling, Apple seems to be using the same thermals inside the new MacBook Pro models as the outgoing ones – so that’s that.
A quick rain-check on new MacBook Pro core specs now:
15-inch MacBook Pro – now starts with 6-core i7 chip clocked at 2.6GHz (Turbo Boost speeds up to 4.5 GHz), followed by 8-core i9 chip clocked at 2.3GHz (Turbo Boost speeds up to 4.8 GHz), and lastly the top-end model with 8-core i9 chip clocked at 2.4GHz (Turbo Boost speeds up to 5.0 GHz)
13-inch MacBook Pro – now starts with 4-core i5 chip clocked at 2.4GHz (Turbo Boost speeds up to 4.1 GHz), while the top-end model now ships with 4-core i7 chip with Turbo Boost speeds up to 4.7 GHz
Rest of the specifications remain the same – which means, the updated models have the same integrated graphics, the same retina display, the same SSDs and same all-day battery life claim.
In India, the new 13-inch MacBook Pro will start at Rs 1,59,900 while the new 14-inch MacBook Pro will start at Rs 1,99,900 – note that the updates apply to the 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Pro models with touch bar (which means the entry-level 13-inch MacBook Pro isn’t getting any update). Apple will start shipping the new MacBook Pro models in India starting later this week.